Monday, July 31, 2017

Memory Book


Hey All! I have a new Memory Book to share with you... If you already have my All About Me book, it's similar to that, but this is for the End of the School Year.  Below is a sneak preview of a couple pages... click the link below to see the whole pack! 
I hope you enjoy it!! 



Monday, July 24, 2017

Writing in Rice!

Hi Friends! 

Today I have a SUPER EASY activity to share with you that helps children with their letter (and number) formation. Guys, let's get real for a second. I think that handwriting practice is incredibly beneficial and needed in kindergarten, but it's hard to deny that it does get boring for the kids (and teachers!) from time to time. We need to help our kiddos out with their handwriting and formation while making it fun and memorable for them. 

Recently I stumbled upon Education.com's post about writing in rice. It was a bit if a DUHHH! moment for me. I have had the kids writing in sand for the longest time and I think rice would be so much better. It doesn't stick to their hands as much and is a bit easier to clean up! Plus you can always dye rice to make it colorful!  Here are the directions: 

Trace Letters on Rice
Is your kindergartener eager to practice writing? Does he love to play with his food? Enjoy making designs in his mashed potatoes or carrot puree? Transform his inclination to play with his food from taboo to “yahoo"! He'll get a big kick out of working on his handwriting…using rice!

What You Need:
1 large baking sheet
1-2 cups uncooked rice
Pencil
Lined paper

What You Do:
  • Sit your child down at a table with a large baking sheet with 1-2 cups of uncooked rice spread evenly across it
  • Draw a line across the top of the rice, and one across the bottom. Then, using the pointer finger of the dominant hand, show your child how to draw the following handwriting strokes, which are the building blocks for most letters of the alphabet:
Straight line: begin at the top, and draw straight to the bottom
Straight line: begin at the left, and draw straight to the right
"Slant left": begin at the top, and draw a diagonal line left, eventually connecting to the base line
"Slant right": begin at the top, and draw a diagonal line right, eventually connecting to the base line
Circle- draw an “o”
Half circle: show your child how to draw one to the right, and one to the left (as in d and b)
Once he's practiced a few times in the rice, ask your child to write the same strokes on the lined paper.


When the strokes themselves become easy, it's time to move on to the ABC's. Slide out that baking sheet and ask your child to write each letter in both its capital and lowercase form. As he finishes writing in the rice, have him write the letter on the paper as well, to reinforce things.

Still feeling crafty? You can extend the activity by using the leftover rice for a different purpose. Now that your child has written all of his letters onto paper, have him glue rice on top. It may sound a little odd, but working with rice and glue helps improve hand dexterity (which works those writing muscles!), plus, it helps kids think about the shape of the letters, and the direction they moved while writing them. Dried corn, macaroni, raisins, or uncooked noodles also work well for this purpose. So raid that pantry, and get your kid thinking about those ABC's!

I can just see myself making adorable like tactile booklets out of these alphabet cards and putting in our classroom library! I'm sure kids will just be sucked into tracing the cards everyday!! Click here to see more activities like this on Education.com.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Resources for Teachers, Families, and Community Members

Great Sites for Online Books

Educational Foundations for Teachers to Follow 

Communicating with Parents and Families (and Vice Versa) 

  • Reading Rockets Building Teacher-Parent Relationships 
  • Have a Twitter/Instagram - Post pictures or share updates with parents and members of the community (check me out at @chelseabradsha5)
    • Here's a great article about how to connect with Parents through social media 
  • Send out newsletters - I love Smore.com (easy to use, good graphics, very organized). EDUleadership says to avoid these three things when writing a newsletter to staff or parents: 
    • "Being long-winded. Be concise. People are busy, and they appreciate it when you get to the point quickly.
    • Making it optional reading. If your newsletter isn’t the essential source for school [or class] happenings and information, people won’t read it.
    • Making it hard to read. You want people to actually read your newsletter, so make it easy for them to get the information they need quickly. Don’t send a Word document that can’t be read on a mobile device, or a PDF that’s an extra step to open. Just send a regular old email." 
  • Bloomz - With Bloomz, teachers save time by having all the tools they need to communicate with today's parents in one easy-to-use (and free) app.
video


I have a number of Reading Specialist experiences under my belt. Check them out! 

First things first... What is a Reading Specialist? A Reading Specialist can take on many jobs. A reading specialists job primarily is providing support to teachers, parents and the community. This job can vary from coaching, collaborating, supervising or all of the above! To find out more about Reading Specialists, you may click here (Reading Rockets) or here (International Reading Association). 
  • Program Evaluation - I compared two literacy programs, Raz Plus and Reading Street. I did a program presentation for these programs to be hypothetically implemented into my district. Below are my recommendations. Take a listen! 
video video




  • Grant Proposal - This is a grant I applied for. We are still waiting on a response but feel free to take a look. 



  • Professional Development Plan - I created and implemented a professional development plan that teachers educators strategies about how to teach sight words using the website: Sightwords.com. After presenting my material, teachers also received some "takeaways" so that they could implement some games and teaching tools immediately. 


FUTURE PLANS 


  • Offer Parent Workshops
  • Join Educational Foundations
  • Continue providing professional development (whether formal or informal)
  • Continue establishing good relationships with colleagues
  • Take leadership opportunities within the school/district
  • Stay up to date with reading and writing research

Reading and Writing in 4th and 5th Grade

READING AND WRITING IN FOURTH & FIFTH GRADE
Calling all 4th and 5th grade teachers!  Below is some helpful information when teaching the three writing genres: opinion, informative, and narrative. Providing helpful anchor charts, showing children meaningful mentor books, and supporting these writer's with appropriate technology support tools can be key to successful young readers and writers. Let me help! 


What Should Writing Look Like? 


I stumbled across the site Great Schools not too long ago and I am thoroughly impressed with many of their resources. The site is meant for parents and families but it can be a great use for teachers too. New to a grade or need a refresher? Check out these videos for ways to support your young writers in 4th and 5 grade. 

What does 4th Grade Writing Look Like?
video


What does 5th Grade Writing Look Like?
video




Anchor Charts






Mentor Texts

Literacy Specialist, Presenter and Blogger Jen Jones of Hello Literacy posted this list of suggested Mentor Texts for grades 3-6. Hope you find it useful! 

FREE Mentor Text Lists for Reading Literature Standards {3-6}


Charlotte's Web by E.B. White - Teaching Visualizing


  
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen - Teaching Character Conflict (Man vs. Nature)



First Day Jitters by Julia Danneberg - Teaching Point of View



Infusing Technology 

Storybird.com - This Common Core Aligned Site is free for classroom usage and allows students to create professionally illustrated stories, books or poems. 


Storyboardthat.com - Create Storyboards to publish student stories. See this video below for a quick preview!

video

Epic! (getepic.com) is a free site for educators where you can get a variety of books at your fingertips. Students will be able to log on at school or at home through desktops, ChromeBooks or iPads. Teachers and Liberians can create student profiles and track student progress.





This Education World link provides you with a handful of software options that students and teachers enjoy 



Reading and Writing in 2nd and 3rd Grade

READING AND WRITING IN SECOND & THIRD GRADE
Calling all 2nd and 3rd grade teachers!  Below is some helpful information when teaching the three writing genres: opinion, informative, and narrative. Providing helpful anchor charts, showing children meaningful mentor books, and supporting these writer's with appropriate paper choices can be key to successful young readers and writers. Let me help! 

What Should Writing Look Like? 



2nd Grade:

Reading Rocket's says this: "Second graders are polishing a wide range of basic writing skills, including writing legibly, using capitalization and punctuation correctly (most of the time!), and moving from invented spelling to more accurate spelling. For most, handwriting becomes automatic, so they can concentrate more on the content of their writing rather than on the mechanics. Second graders can organize their writing to include a beginning, middle, and end. They can write a simple essay with a title and introductory sentence, provide examples and details that support their main concept, and write a concluding sentence."



3rd Grade:
Reading Rockets says this: "During third grade, children are really flexing their “idea” muscles and learning to express those ideas in more sophisticated ways. Sentences are getting longer and more complex. Kids are learning to use a dictionary to correct their own spelling. Grammar improves; for example, you'll see appropriate punctuation, contractions, and correct subject-verb agreement. Third graders can write an essay with a simple thesis statement, examples and supporting details, and a thoughtful concluding sentence. They are building skills in the writing process — research, planning, organizing, revising, and editing (with help from teachers and peers)."

  
See more writing samples at Reading Rockets: {2nd Grade} & {3rd Grade}

Writing Paper

Know your students. What works best for them... and YOU! Maybe you do best with journals, loose leaf paper, or maybe even typing! 

Try using the following sites as some printable writing paper resources. 

Anchor Charts




Mentor Texts

This mentor text link- Internet Gold! Find a variety of books to use in your classroom when teaching the variety of writing topics. This list was developed by Lucy Calkins. Here are some good ones that I recommend! 

Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin - Teaching Text Bubbles




Laughing Tomatoes: And Other Spring Poems / Jitomates Risuenos: Y Otros Poemas de Primavera (The Magical Cycle of the Seasons Series) by Francisco X. Alarcon and Maya Christina Gonzalez - Teaching Poetry 


Bigmamas by Donald Crews - Teaching Memoirs 

Infusing Technology 

Begin by going here: http://www.iste.org/standards/standards. Here are the technology standards you will need to meet. They say something in their site that really sticks out at me... "It’s not about using digital tools to support outdated education strategies and models; it’s about tapping into technology’s potential to amplify human capacity for collaboration, creativity and communication. It’s about leveling the playing field and providing young people worldwide with equitable access to powerful learning opportunities." We have the potential to inspire so many young learners, and at this 2nd-3rd grade age range, it's a great place to get started! 

Raz-Plus (now better than ever!) You can exposed children to leveled readers, print out assessment, project close reading passages and so much more! Here is the link.

video


This Education World link provides you with a handful of software options that students and teachers enjoy 



Reading and Writing in Kindergarten & First Grade

READING AND WRITING IN KINDERGARTEN & FIRST GRADE
Calling all kindergarten and first grade teachers!  Below is some helpful information when teaching kindergarten's three writing genres: opinion, informative, and narrative. Providing helpful anchor charts, showing children meaningful mentor books, and supporting these writer's with appropriate paper choices can be key to successful little readers and writers. Let me help! 

What Should Writing Look Like? 

Kindergarten:
Greatschools.org says, "It all begins with scribbles. Aside from decorative swirls, a few letters, and perhaps even their own names, most kindergartners start school not knowing how to write. That’s the point of school, after all… right?In a word, yes. You may have heard that kindergarten is significantly more academic under the new Common Core State Standards — and it’s true: the kindergarten writing standards include scary terms like “research” and “publish.” But don’t panic. Kindergarten is still the year children first learn about writing, which includes honing listening, speaking, and thinking skills, along with physical writing, starting with the ABCs."


First Grade: 
Education.com says that "First graders are tasked with improving their written vocabularies, writing more detailed sentences, and crafting short narratives." Their writing will get lengthier, moving away from uppercase letters and focus more on the writing process rather than just how to write. 


More Writing Samples through Reading Rockets.

Writing Paper

Writing Paper should be simple. We don't want to overstimulate the children with too many lines or cutesy graphics. Also, given the range of writers you have in your class, you may want to have different paper options available to your learners. Here are some types of paper I have used in the past: 

Narratives (such as small moment or personal narratives): 


Informational (such as research reports or expert books): 




Opinion (author/book reviews):  



Anchor Charts







Mentor Texts: 

Narrative Writing: These books should model defined characters, a clear setting, and a beginning, middle and end. Check out these books when teaching narrative writing. 

A Moment in Time by Jennifer Butenas



Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee



Opinion Writing: Have fun with this! I loved to expose children to a variety of different books and authors and they had to do a book review on one of their favorite books. Author books are great too. Read authors like Mo Willems, Laura Numeroff, Julia Donaldson, Eric Carle, and Jan Brett and students have to write about authors they love and why. 

  


Informational Writing: One year I used up all my scholastic points to buy non-fiction books for my class. SO WORTH IT! Choose books around a certain topic (i.e. all kids write about farm animals) or let them choose a topic based off of a nonfiction book you have in your classroom. Here are some great resources to use...

National Geographic for Kids
Raz Kids (sort by nonfiction)
Scholastic Magazines







Infusing Technology

I recommend ABCya.com. They have a ton of great games around reading, writing, phonics, math, strategy, and holiday topics. Give Story Maker a try! I used this program to publish and the kids loved it! 


Raz-Plus (now better than ever!) You can exposed children to leveled readers, print out assessment, project close reading passages and so much more! Here is the link.


video